Reply To: Hi – I'm a sociopath.



Yes, “Me”. I think this is all related to attachment theory. It always saddens (not sure if this is the right word) me to think of how much of what we become depends on coincidence. A child who has a temperament with heightened sensitivities is a wonderful thing because the child has so much capacity for compassion, empathy and understanding. However, if the parents do not have the skills (knowledge, time or ability due to depression, substance abuse, mental health issues etc) to validate the child’s high sensitivities (and teach them how to soothe the heightened sensitivity to fears etc), then the child can be damaged.

This is why I am interested in your story, “Me”. My idle thoughts about sociopaths is that they have the tragic luck to be born with some wires crossed, or missing (not sure what the right word here is either). Then the quality of the parenting also becomes important. I know it is incredibly difficult to modify the behavior of a child who has severely reduced sensitives to others, but it seems that you have not turned out too bad. You have a lot of self awareness and courage to start this discussion. You could have been dishonest about who you are and your motives, and as far as I can tell, you have played by the rules.

Do you think you were socialised to be kind to people despite your reduced ability to care about them? One my theories is that people with ASPD have huge issues with power and a lot of the mind games and mischief they do is revenge for a childhood where they were not validated for their special gifts. Not having “normal” amounts of empathy is not in itself a bad thing. If surgeons had high empathy I don’t think they would be able to cut people open. It seems the military goes to some lengths in boot camp to remove sensitivities in recruits and replace it with loyalty and obedience. I think spies are picked for their ability to not feel bad about taking advantage of their target “friends” who are sources of information.

I’m wondering if parents, or schools can make a difference in helping a kid born with low sensitivities channel their strengths (ability to read people and strategize) to make the world a better place. I have a theory (and this will sound strange, but bear with me) that a really good political leader would need to have ASPD qualities. They could schmooze the public to get elected, but once elected they could unemotionally investigate the facts and make decisions that benefit the country rather than their friends (big banks, corporations etc). In a leader, loyalty to a certain class of people (rich corporation types) is not necessarily good the country as a whole. So if there were a sociopath who could channel his or her strengths into good (and put a lid on the spiteful, vengeful aspects), then I think this would be a good thing.

“Me”, what do you think are the things that could happen to a temperamentally low-sensitivity kid that could bring out the best (and worst) in them? As you point out, there is a lot of knowledge (Bowlby etc) about bringing out the best in very high sensitivity kids, but there isn’t much that I am aware of about bringing out the best in very low-sensitivity kids so that they don’t turn out to be the abusers that this website is all about.